If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about who you are, where you came from, and who your ancestors were, using a DNA testing kit might be well worth considering. MyHeritage is one company that offers genetic testing services of this kind to the general public.
Below, we will take a thorough look at the MyHeritage company and its features. We will also go over the specific services and features available with MyHeritage DNA and explore the DNA testing process in general. That way, when it comes time to choose a DNA testing service for you, you’ll feel self-assured knowing that you’ve chosen a service that will be worth your time and money.
An online platform designed to help users uncover information about their genealogy, MyHeritage has been offering software services since 2003. They established somewhere near 35 million family trees by the year 2017. The company was founded by Israeli entrepreneur Gilad Japhet. The company began offering DNA testing services in 2016 and their DNA database is 2.4 million.
MyHeritage stands out among other mainstream DNA kit services as an international platform with worldwide availability. It has offices located in Tel Aviv, Utah, Kyiv, Ukraine, Burbank, Tel Aviv, and its headquarters are in Or Yehuda, Israel. It supports 42 different languages.
MyHeritage Review: Key Features
- One of the least expensive mainstream DNA kit services
- Has a turnaround speed of around 3-5 weeks
- Helps you determine estimated ethnicity
- Allows you to discover DNA matches
- Only offers autosomal DNA kit (no Y-DNA or Mitochondrial testing options)
Overview of The DNA Testing Process
DNA testing services can be useful for a variety of reasons. With DNA testing, you can discover more about your ancestry, family history, genealogy, lineage, family tree, and estimate which ethnicities are most prevalent in your genetic makeup. Some DNA testing services are also useful in determining certain predispositions to common ailments or diseases, uncovering unknown genetic traits, and determining other fascinating physical characteristics.
Breaking Down DNA Sample
DNA testing involves sampling your genetic material and breaking it down digitally. When using a mainstream DNA testing kit like the ones offered by MyHeritage DNA, your DNA sample will be gathered through the use of a saliva cheek swab. This saliva sample is then mailed to a laboratory where it is examined by specialists and then broken down into a sequence of letters that make up your genetic code: A, C, G, and T. This is called nucleotide bases of DNA. Once a DNA sample is broken down into a digital genetic code, it can be examined and compared to other DNA samples. This can help determine ethnicity, lineage, health factors, traits, and much more.
DNA Libraries and Reference Population
The DNA data gathered from samples will be cataloged and then run through algorithms that compare the information in your genetic code to other data samples found in large DNA libraries and their own DNA database (reference population). These libraries are in many cases available for sample comparison by DNA specialists and in some cases are even available to the general public. This allows specialists to make accurate ethnic and genealogical conclusions.
Three Principal Types of DNA Genealogical Tests
DNA can be gathered from the nucleus of a cell, from the Y-chromosome, or the mitochondria of a cell. Each method looks at a different part of the genome and can be useful for various kinds of genealogical research. These three methods are autosomal, mitochondrial (mtDNA), and Y-DNA. Autosomal tests are great for finding out who you are related to through DNA matching. Autosomal tests are also widely used to estimate your ethnicity composition. Y-DNA and Mitochondrial DNA are generally much more objective and allow for the discovery of relationships along a strict female line and a strict male line. This means that mtDNA and Y-DNA tests can allow an individual to trace their ancestry back through a haplogroup for centuries. Not all companies offer their users access to all three kinds of DNA testing. MyHeritage DNA, for example, only utilizes autosomal DNA testing.
Advantages of Using MyHeritage DNA
MyHeritage offers users access to many helpful features. Their services allow you to discover your genetic matches, estimate your ethnicity, interact easily through web and mobile application platforms, and more. Here’s an in-depth look at what features you’ll have access to if you choose to utilize the testing services offered by MyHeritage DNA.
Scientific Experts and Specialists
MyHeritage DNA boasts access to 36 personalized health reports. These reports are generated based on rigorous scientific research.
Professional Health Oversight
In the USA the company works with a group of physicians called PWNHealth, which supervises Health DNA services and provides clinical oversight.
An Affordable and Simple Option
MyHeritage utilizes a simple cheek swabbing method for DNA collection. They are also one of the least expensive DNA tests comparatively.
This company has 2.4 million DNA users worldwide, 3.8 billion family tree profiles, 11.9 billion historical records, and offers 42 supported languages.
MyHeritage specializes in ethnicity estimation. Ethnicity estimation is a summary of your unique ethnic breakdown. They offer ethnic results from 42 regions around the world. They are especially good for the breakdown of European heritage, as they have a large ethnicity database from this region. So, if you believe that you have a strong European family line, this may be a good DNA testing option for you. However, they have a smaller database comparatively for other regions.
MyHeritage DNA Matching is available to help you find out if you have any unknown relatives. You can compare your DNA data with other individuals in a large genetic sample database to identify shared genetic sequences that indicate a potential familial relationship. The higher the percentage of DNA a sample shares with the sample of another person, the closer their likely family relationship will be.
They offer a Chromosome browser for DNA comparison with DNA relatives as well. When you use their service, you are eligible to receive DNA Matches that compare to others who have tested with the MyHeritage DNA test, as well as with people who have tested with other services and uploaded their raw DNA data. This means that they allow users of all major testing companies (like 23andme and Ancestry DNA) to upload their DNA results to MyHeritage. This allows for a wider matching pool.
MyHeritage DNA also now offers an AutoCluster feature. This is essentially a new genetic genealogy that they’ve created to group DNA Matches on an easy-to-read chart. You can quickly see where your DNA matches line up with common ancestors. They show you the relevant cluster data through a visual charting map. You can use this tool to explore your DNA matches more easily and efficiently. This feature is useful for mapping your family tree.
MyHeritage DNA gives you access to an ethnicity map which lets you discover the most common ethnicities in each country. You’ll be able to see the top countries around the world for each ethnicity group, according to user data from the MyHeritage database. If you are interested in mapping the regions where your ethnic relatives are most heavily gathered, this can be a helpful feature. Here is Germany’s ethnicity map:
MyHeritage Health DNA Kits
Heritage also offers a separate Health DNA Test. It is useful for anyone interested in learning about certain genetic traits and other health-related information. It comes with a genetic risk report and a carrier status report.
Genetic Risk Reports
The Genetic Risk Reports from MyHeritage DNA identify 18 specific conditions which include:
• Crohn’s Disease
• Celiac Disease
• Late-Onset Parkinson’s Disease
• Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
• Age-Related Macular Degeneration
• Hereditary Hemochromatosis
• Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency
• Hereditary Thrombophilia
• G6PD Deficiency
• Hereditary Breast Cancer BRCA1/BRCA2
Carrier Status Reports
This report can tell you whether you (or your family members) are a carrier for 18 genetically transferable conditions. If you and your partner are both carriers of these disorders, any children you have together could potentially be at risk for conditions like:
• Sickle Cell Anemia
• Gaucher Disease
• Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss
• Niemann-Pick Disease
• Cystic fibrosis
• Fanconi Anemia
• Familial Dysautonomia
• Sickle Cell Anemia
• Gaucher Disease
• Nonsyndromic Hearing Loss
Drawbacks to Consider
While this service is less expansive compared to other similar services, it is lacking in a few areas.
• MyHeritage DNA does not offer y-DNA and mtDNA kit. This means that if you are interested in researching your ethnic roots throughout history, you may want to use another testing service company.
• Their Health DNA test is a separate package, which costs more.
• They have a smaller database of DNA test results ( around 2.4 million DNA samples) meaning that your DNA relatives are limited.
In summary, MyHeritage DNA testing is a good option for those interested in learning about their DNA matches or for finding long-lost relatives. It can also be helpful in areas like ethnicity estimation and ancestry. Additionally, if you are interested in genetic traits and health testing, a health testing package is available.
However, this testing service does not allow you to trace your ancient ancestry because it only utilizes autosomal DNA analysis. It also has a relatively small database, though it does allow you to upload any previously obtained raw DNA data from other companies.
Only you can determine which company will be ideal for your specific situation. Taking the time to explore the details of each testing service is a great way to ensure that you’ll choose a DNA testing service that will work well for you.